It’s hard to believe it’s only been three weeks since the referendum. So many things have happened, and sadly there aren’t many of them which look like benefiting Scotland in the ways I, and many others had hoped for. Still, we are where we are and we need to move on and keep building the better country we know it can be. We’re at war again, Gordon Brown’s timetable has vanished, the media has moved on and cares not a jot for Scotland anymore, and we’re left rebuilding broken promises.
So what happened? Here’s my story – not that it will add much, just as a record of what I saw and did on the 18th and 19th September 2104. I’ve been working (and will continue to work with) the Business For Scotland team. BFS provided some fantastic speakers for the TV and Radio and other media, some faultless economic analysis and generally made a massive contribution to the Yes Campaign. I’m proud of everything we achieved and happy to have played a part in it. There is no doubt whatsoever that Scotland can be a successful and wealthy independent country. We just were overwhelmed by the deceptions and propaganda from the Westminster politicians and the media – particularly the BBC. There’s academic evidence to prove that it’s not just pro-yes paranoia in saying this.
The scare stories run on a daily basis by “Project Fear” which were amplified and repeated ad-nauseaum by the BBC/media, despite being able to be shot apart by anyone with half a brain, succeeded. Just like the way the BBC has succeeded in getting UKIP a far higher profile than other parties which actually have MPs already in Westminster (e.g. Green party) they succeeded in scaring the living daylights out of a section of the electorate which still believes the BBC is fair and impartial. At what cost to democracy in the future though?
I did the “hanging around the outside of polling stations” on the 18th and watched people going in to vote. It was a depressing experience because my reading of the body language of many of the older folk who rushed past was that they were, in the main, head down, avoiding all conversations (never a good morning/afternoon) not smiling, just looking like they were doing something they wanted to get over with as quickly as possible. I had a gentleman sent over to me – after he’d voted – by one of the No guys outside the polling station. This man was very confident and stood within the normal personal space and wanted to get me to understand why Indy was so risky. So we talked for about 15 minutes and parted as friends. His parting words were – “Why wasn’t I told by the BBC what you’ve just told me about the real state of the UK economy?” I had nothing more to say to him and he left with a lot less belief in his No vote. Shame it was after he’d voted, but No voters didn’t seem to have their ears open before they voted.
I then went to the count of the votes in Perth. My gut feel, from watching the demeanour of people as they went into and came out of the polling stations I’d been at (pretty much from 07:00 through to 21:00) was that it was going to be a No victory. But being at the count was interesting. I totally refute any allegations of vote rigging in the ballot boxes. From what I saw, this just wasn’t a probability at all. Now, the postal votes were something else though. It’s possible that they could be rigged. There’s an ongoing Police investigation into the Better Together campaign sampling the postal votes as they came in. That’s not the same as rigging them, but it’s still completely illegal. Time will tell if anyone gets prosecuted for this.
The most dis-spiriting thing at the count was later in the night/early morning when it was clearly a No victory. The Labour, the Tory and the Liberal Democrats all congratulating each other. Impossible to tell one from the other. They had no differences during the campaign, right down to their “Vows”. That’s profoundly worrying for democracy in the future of the UK. The Westminster political class has become indistinguishable from party to party – so what are we actually left with?
So here’s the thing, what happens in a country when the half of it which is entrepreneurial, risk taking, confident and go-ahead has that stomped on and taken away from them? I don’t know, but it’s an interesting thought to consider over the next few months.
Now, I’m not being lazy, but I really don’t think I’ve seen a better summary of what’s happened in the last couple of weeks than this article posted on Facebook by James Turbert. It’s at the bottom of this post , in italics. It’s a long read and he focusses on the things which have clearly gone wrong. I hope he doesn’t mind that I’m simply re-posting it. Before reading it, I’m trying to focus on what’s gone right, so there’s a few things which he’s not covered.
- BfS, like all of the other YES supporting groups has vowed to continue. We’re feeling our way forward and working out how we can do this most effectively. I suspect, just like all the others we weren’t set up to be a long term organisation. The Radical Independence Campaign, the Women for Indy, the Farmers for Yes and so many others are all re-grouping, taking stock and working out how to be effective now. The independent web based Yes supporting media are reconfiguring themselves to be stronger and to increase their reach. Wings Over Scotland, Newsnet Scotland, Derek Bateman, The National Collective, the RIC all are seeking to collaborate with each other and rapidly develop a sustainable way of working. I see this as links in chain which was under tension and where every link was actively supporting the links next to them. The chain went slack on the 18th September, but it’s still there. It’s being tensioned again as those people who are now fully awake to economics and politics dust themselves down and start taking action again. The chain was never broken, indeed new links are being added to it every day as the duplicity of Westminster and it’s agents becomes clear to everyone in Scotland.
- 1.6 Million People believed Scotland is capable of being an independent country. Wow.
- 84.5% of the population voted. Wow again. Waken up England!! Just think of the changes you could achieve if you voted in these numbers.
- There’s a UK parliamentary election in 7 months time. Interesting, it’s not an Independence Referendum but it does pose many questions.
Membership of the SNP is reported to be above 100,000 now, and still rising. It was about 25,000 at the time of the referendum. In context, this means that about 2% of the population of Scotland has now signed up and given money to the Scottish National Party. Just stop and consider this in a UK context. It’s staggering. The Conservative Party claims to have 134,000 members – drawn from the 65,000,000 population of the UK. That gives them about 0.2% of the UK population, and the SNP now has 2% of the Scottish population. How can we ever expect things to be the same with this level of seismic change? Democracy? Scotland’s looking like it’s got it and the rest of the UK is sleepwalking to it’s future – guided by a very small number of zombies. We live in interesting times. How democratic is it that the ruling party has such a pitifully small membership of the population? Oh, they’re in coalition with another party which has 0.06% of the population as members. So that’s all right then?
“The UK’s political party system is at a time of considerable change. Membership of the three main political parties is at a historic low: less than 1% of the UK electorate is now a member of the Conservative, Labour or Liberal Democrat Party, compared to 3.8% in 1983. Latest estimates suggest that the Conservative Party claimed 134,000 members, the Labour party 190,000 and the Liberal Democrat Party 44,000.
Yet membership of smaller, often nationalist parties has risen markedly since the new millennium. In June 2014 membership of the UK Independence Party was around 39,000; in October 2014 membership of the Scottish National Party was around 75,000; in October 2014 membership of the Green Party was around 20,000. Though none of these parties can claim to equal either the Conservatives or Labour in size, their rise nonetheless represents a notable change in the make-up of the UK’s political landscape. “(source: http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/research/briefing-papers/SN05125/membership-of-uk-political-parties)
Alex Salmond is stepping down as leader and it’s almost certain that Nicola Sturgeon will take over from him. If I was a betting man I’d bet on AS having a plan for what he’s going to do next. He’s not resigning from the SNP nor as an MSP. We’ve not in any way heard the last of him. There are many things he can do when he’s off the leash of being First Minister. Watch this space!! NS has a new and transformed party to lead. Is it even a party in the old sense? Seems to me it’s more of a movement now. Maybe she is our Daenerys Targaryen, riding the dragon of the new SNP. Or possibly Boadicea? Either way, she’s got a very big job to do now. I’ve no doubt that she’ll rise to it, but it’s perhaps not going to be quite what she expected.
Me – I’m going to help BfS work out just how and where it can be most effective. We’ve got excellent analysts, PR people, presenters, Chairmen, talking heads. We cover pretty much every sphere of business. It’s finding the right way to use those skills and experiences which is our challenge now.
So …what’s happened in the two weeks since the Referendum Result. Brace yourself…………..
(1) Better Together apologized for their negative campaigning. They admitted that by constantly repeating stories of negative fear mongering about what independence could mean, that they deliberately targeted people by clouding their judgment with fear. Fear over hope in other words. Since that apology, Blair McDougall and Alistair Darling have vanished completely. For all we know, they could be hiding with Shergar, Lucan and Elvis.
(2) Prior to the referendum, Tesco pointed out that the scaremongering story of food price rises in an independent Scotland was ‘entirely speculative’. We await with abated breath for apologies from the other big food store giants.
(3) William Hague warned Parliament on the eve of the referendum that any new powers for Scotland would need to be voted through Westminster, thus contradicting Gordon Brown’s promise of ‘a cross-party deal on more powers for the Scottish Parliament in only TWO MONTHS as he sought to convince Labour voters that rejecting separation would quickly lead to a new Union” (by the way, just remember one fact as you read through this post! …that Brown said it would be Two Months!!). Hague also knew that the Tory and Labour backbenchers would NEVER vote new powers through as it would only enrage the rest of the UK Electorate who see the Scots getting far too much pocket money as well as free things such as tuition fees and prescriptions.
(4) Literally an hour after the Referendum result, both Cameron and Miliband renege on the ‘Vow’ of new powers that both of them had promised and publicised to great fanfare by the red rag, the Daily Record (who should be greatly scorned for what they did that day). Cameron twisted his vow so that any new Scottish Powers should be tied to that of new powers for the English Electorate (which was NOT part of the vow!) and Miliband a couple of hours later refusing to go with Cameron because Miliband can see the fly in his ointment. If new powers are given to Scotland, then Scottish MP’s can’t vote on English matters. If Labour win the 2015 General Election, then when it comes to Labour voting through new proposals for England, then he will have potentially 59 Scottish Labour MP’s sitting outside the room. It means that the Tory-Libs-(possible UKIP) MP’s could outnumber Labour and veto his new proposals. Miliband does NOT WANT SCOTLAND TO HAVE NEW POWERS. HE CANNOT if he is to govern effectively as PM.
(5) Scottish Labour realising that Miliband has sold them out, have been left to look very stupid, as well as possibly liars, as they promised the Scottish people new powers.
(6) Another row that has blown up around Scottish Labour revolves around the Scottish NHS. Remember during the campaign that they said that the NHS was apparently very safe in the UK’s hands. Well, within days of the referendum result, Scottish Labour began shrieking to everyone in Scotland that the Scottish NHS is now suddenly in danger from severe cuts and privatisation by the Tories; not just after the 2015 General Election, but also before it. It should also be noted that if Labour do win the General Election, that they intend to follow the same policies as the Tories. The Scottish NHS, as well as free tuition and prescriptions will NOT be safe if you vote Labour next year. You’ve been warned!
(7) Gordon Brown also realising that he has been made to look extremely foolish as well looking like he had been duped himself, then came up with the jaw-dropping idea that insulted every single person in Scotland, by asking them to sign his ‘petition’ to make sure that the 3 Unionist parties at London honour their vow! However, (as pointed out to me by Frank Anderson), the petition was already going strong at 80,000 when Gordon piped up. Since then, the petition has hit the 100,000 signatories mark. This was NOT a petition setup by Gordon Brown, but by others who campaigned for the new powers after the result of the referendum was realised. Apparently, some of the Scottish politicians have signed it from right across the Scottish political spectrum. However, out of 2 million people who voted ‘No’, I find it personally not good enough. A 106,988 is not an overwhelming endorsement from 2 million people who for a good many of them, voted ‘No’ for Devo-Max. It either means (1) they really don’t care (2) they really don’t want to know the truth (3) are still completely ignorant of the real facts (4) know that Westminster will laugh it out of the room (5) that people now realise that it was foolish to believe Gordon in the first place, but the biggest fool may be Gordon himself, who believed that Westminster would live up to its promises. Who knows!
(8) Flipping the argument the other way, Labour peer Lord Glasman accused Gordon Brown and David Cameron of ‘smashing’ the Union’, while Rory Stewart, the Tory MP and chairman of the Commons Defence Committee also commented something of a similar nature. Lord Glasman warned that there will never again be a Scottish PM, or a Scottish Chancellor at Westminster if Scotland receives new powers. So how does Scotland feel about that? Knowing that we are in a Union where one of our representatives will never again be Chancellor, let alone PM? If that is the case …why are we in a Union?
(9) Ruth Davidson of the Scottish Tory Party was caught out after TV evidence had her admitting that she along with Better Together, had opened a number of postal votes prior to the closing of the Referendum. Police are now seriously investigating this breach of trust.
(10) The UK Government confirmed that oil has been found off the West Coast of Shetland after spending months shrieking that oil in the North Sea was running out. On top of that …it turns out new fields have been found in the North Sea too. Were you honestly surprised?
(11) The Lloyds Banking Group who warned of moving its Assets south of the border if it was a ‘Yes’ vote …are still moving their Assets south of the border (yep … a ‘No’ vote saved that).
(12) The war on Islamic State or Gulf War 3 in simpler terms. This is one of the key reasons as to why Westminster needed a United Kingdom. Along with its nuclear arsenal, seat at the UN Security Council, it is for this one prime reason …to have a big say on the world stage. It’s an ideology that is part of Britain’s DNA and it feeds off it. Westminster, the State Media, and various large companies will be highly overjoyed about having the UK strut around the world stage pretending it is still a World Power. Anyway …moving on, we all know the Middle East is now just a complete and utter mess thanks to the first two Gulf Wars and that of the foreign policies of the US and UK. We now have a new fundamentalist regime known as the Islamic State (IS) who as part of their own ideology, are determined to create a Caliphate (one supreme Islamic nation that incorporates all Muslim nations from Afghanistan and Iran, through the Middle East, right across the whole of North Africa to Morocco on the Atlantic seaboard). One giant country with one supreme leader …and controlling literally the vast majority of resources in oil and gas. It would also affect to a lesser degree, things such as shipping lanes, air zones and also have nuclear weapons (Pakistan). The US and the UK have caused all this carnage thanks to decades of economical mismanagement, interference in Middle East affairs, illegal wars, propping up corrupt regimes, or causing regime change in those nations that questioned the US-UK foreign policy (Iran in the 50’s, Saudi Arabia in 1975 with the assassination of King Faisal). Before beginning, understand that the Islamic World is split into two religious groups; Sunni (the larger religious body) and Shia (the smaller body). Both have argued bitterly with each other since the 8th century over which religious denomination were the main inheritors of Mohammad and his teachings. Now, looking at the Middle East, we have a situation where the Taliban and Al-Quida (Sunni) are resurgent in Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq and Pakistan while Hezbollah (Shia) reside in Lebanon next to Israel, while we have Hamas (Sunni) in the Gaza Strip and also next to Israel. Both groups are backed by the regional superpower, Iran, who are the major Shia nation in the Eastern part of the Middle East and whose mortal enemy is Saudi Arabia who is the major Sunni nation in the Western part of the Middle East! Now, this new power known as Islamic State (Sunni) is reportedly being funded by Saudi Arabia (Sunni) through secret funding as well as illegal oil deals. The country Syria (Sunni), but is backed by Iran (Shia) is fighting the Islamic State who have taken up residence in parts of Syria and Iraq. The US and UK, who were originally trying to bring the Syrian Regime down at the start of this year, are now quietly working with it in helping it to fight IS. Thanks in weakening Syria by the US and UK, IS was allowed to flourish in Syria. Word also has it that Iran (who hates the US and UK more than anything) wants the West to fight IS because they are enemies to the theocracy that Iran lives under (rule of the spiritual leaders known as the Ayatollah’s …which don’t exist in the Sunni nations). So, we have the US and UK (Christian) making allies with enemies such as Syria (Sunni) and the mortal enemy of Iran (Shia). We have the US and UK backing Saudi Arabia (Sunni), who in turn, are secretly funding IS (Sunni). We now have Turkey (Sunni but secular) entering the war but only because it is worried about the Iraqi Kurds and doesn’t want them to create their own country by annexing a part of Iraq which would lead to parts of Turkey (which hosts a huge number of Kurds) clamouring to break away and create a greater Kurdish state (which would be a mixture of Sunni, Shia, Christian, Zoroastrianism, Jewish, etc). We have Iraq (Sunni and Shia) which is in complete meltdown and could become another fundamentalist state because the US and UK are determined to leave the shambles that they created in that nation. Meanwhile, we ALL seem to have forgotten all about the Taliban who are sitting quietly watching on from Afghanistan (Sunni) and Pakistan (Sunni) …and hopefully, we are all praying no one provokes Israel (Jewish), for if they are dragged into a war, or even a proxy war, then the whole region will go up in flames since ALL of the nations in the Middle East hate Israel (…well, except possibly Saudi Arabia, who quite like the idea of Israel keeping nuclear weapons, because one day, the Israelis just might use their nukes on its great enemy – Iran). Yep!!! It’s a complete and utter dog’s dinner of sheer carnage, backstabbing, racial and religious hatred ..and which the US and UK created over several decades! And when we voted ‘No’, it meant that Scotland would be dragged back into funding wars which have no end, and which will cost us hundreds of billions of pounds in the years to come. As an example, the West has spent £400 Billion+ on the war in Afghanistan and Iraq alone. As to IS …they want the West involved. They don’t want a United Nations army dealing with the Middle East problem; they want the US and UK because they are predictably destructive in attitude as well as their actions. If the US and UK do what they did in Iraq, then it will destabilise the region further, thus bringing more and more Muslims into the fold of extremism; something which no normal, sane, individual, irrespective of their religion wants. So, well done, No voters! You just endangered the world further. Well done! (…long …slow …handclap…)
(13) We have the Tories promising to scrap the Human Rights act if they win the 2015 General Election.
(14) INEOS has been given the green light to frack the Firth of Forth as well some areas in Mid Lothian too. No doubt that over time, this will be extended to all of the Lothian’s, Fife and Lanarkshire too.
(15) It has been revealed at the start of this week that severe austerity is coming. As Sir Bob Kerslake who is head of the Civil Service put it – ‘The first five years have been challenging but the second five years are likely to prove even harder for three reasons,” he said. ‘Firstly, the easier savings have already been made. Secondly, we are likely to be doing it against a background of a growing economy and greater competition for good staff. Thirdly, the sense of urgency that underpinned the first savings programme will be reduced. But this will be hard to explain to those in the public sector, including our own staff, who are looking for some relief.’ Basically, it is rumoured that £25 Billion pounds worth of cuts is coming, and that possibly 300,000 staff will lose their jobs in the service areas. This includes teachers, nurses, police, fire brigades, etc. You will probably see a greater increase in zero-hour contracts (which will affect anyone who is just contracting for a company, for if the work goes quiet, then you may have a boss who will not only send you home for the rest of the day, but you won’t get paid either). It will also mean wage freezes, fuels prices rises, food price rises and utility bill rises. This was one of the key reasons why Scotland needed to vote ‘Yes’ …just so we could try and stem at least some of the horrendous tsunami of pain that will be soon heading our way.
(16) Another Tory MP defected to UKIP making it even more likely that UKIP will be a major player in the 2015 General Election. Anyone still betting against a Tory-UKIP government?
(17) Remember I told you to remember Gordon Brown’s new powers within TWO MONTHS …well, Westminster are ‘promising’ them within the next …THREE YEARS!!! You’ll get them in 2017 …one year after 2016 in which Scotland would have been an independent country! Do you really believe these powers are coming, and if you do, do you believe that the given powers will be really useful, or will they be excruciatingly embarrassing that they are on the point of being truly insulting? George Osborne has said he will announce these new powers in 2 weeks. If he does, I will break them down and what they mean for Scotland. Personally, I can’t see anything that makes Westminster a helluva lot of money being handed over to Scotland. I expect powers that will actually cripple the Scottish Government in the long term will be handed over in one hand, but the real powers to balance the rotten powers will be kept in Westminster’s other hand, thus derailing any future attempt of a 2nd referendum, by having the people believe that Holyrood is hopeless at tax raising powers, and therefore should be left in the hands of Westminster. We await the result from Osborne…
So there we go, and off the top of my head. This is where Scotland stands at the moment 2 WEEKS after the referendum. And believe me, it is going to get worse. For all of you out there who voted ‘No’, I seriously hope that you are thinking of voting for the SNP come the 2015 General Election so we can have a VERY BIG say in what happens at Westminster. Voting Labour will do you no good since Miliband has stated along with Ed Balls that they intend to implement the same soul-crushing austerity policies as the Tories. Seriously …have a re-read of this article again, and then ponder the future…
And now as you ponder, it seems that Independence didn’t seem such a bad thing after all …did it?
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